Starlink brings challenges to Marubo tribe

Starlink brings challenges to Marubo tribe

Starlink Challenges

The introduction of Starlink internet to the remote Marubo tribe in the Amazon has brought both opportunities and challenges. The high-speed satellite internet service, provided by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has connected the isolated community of about 2,000 people to the rest of the world. The arrival of the internet was initially met with joy and hope.

Tsainama Marubo, a 73-year-old tribal elder, told The New York Times that “everyone was happy” when the antennas were installed along the Itui River. The technology has proven valuable in emergency situations and for staying in touch with loved ones who have moved away. However, the introduction of the internet has also led to unforeseen problems.

Some tribesmen, once known for their chastity, have begun displaying aggressive sexual behavior. Young people are spending hours on their phones, playing violent video games, and chatting with strangers online. Tribal elders have observed a decline in traditional activities that once brought the community together.

Starlink impacts on tribal traditions

The youth, who previously spent time making dyes and jewelry, now prefer to be online. This shift in interest has caused concern among the elders.

Despite these challenges, the Marubo tribe recognizes the importance of the new technology. The benefits of instant communication and access to global information cannot be overlooked. The tribe has instituted limits on internet access to help mitigate some of the negative effects.

The Starlink system, which uses low Earth orbit satellites to deliver high-speed, low-latency internet, has the potential to connect remote areas around the world. With a latency of about 25 ms, it offers a significant improvement over traditional satellite internet services. As the Marubo tribe navigates this new reality, they face the challenge of preserving their cultural heritage while engaging with the global community.

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The broader implications of bringing high-speed internet to remote areas remain a subject of ongoing interest and observation.


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